Responsibly Preserving Mandatory Programs

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By Congressman Tom Cole

Following the recently ended fiscal year, it was reported that the federal government’s budget deficit increased significantly compared to the previous year. While this is certainly discouraging news, the existence of a deficit is not surprising or unusual. Critics are of course quick to blame the implementation of tax reform as the chief contributor to the recent deficit. However, the reality is that another factor has for years been driving deficits and as a result, adding to the national debt.

To provide some context, federal spending falls into a couple general categories: discretionary and mandatory. During the annual budget and appropriations process, lawmakers address only the discretionary side of the budget. Mandatory spending, on the other hand, is essentially left as is unless lawmakers offer solutions for reform to various programs.


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